w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Prahlad Chandra Das v/s The State of Assam Represented By The Commissioner & Secy. To The Govt. of Assam, Education (Secondary) Deptt., Dispur, Guwahati & Others


Company & Directors' Information:- ASSAM COMPANY INDIA LIMITED [Active] CIN = L01132AS1977PLC001685

Company & Directors' Information:- G DAS & CO PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U74992WB1935PTC008299

Company & Directors' Information:- H H EDUCATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U80301WB1997PTC083294

Company & Directors' Information:- DAS & CO PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U72100AS1946PTC000740

Company & Directors' Information:- K C DAS PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U15433WB1946PTC013592

Company & Directors' Information:- P. L. G. EDUCATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U80300DL2007PTC171109

Company & Directors' Information:- N I D T EDUCATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U80301DL2002PTC117695

Company & Directors' Information:- R K CHANDRA PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U36911WB1989PTC046753

Company & Directors' Information:- D K DAS & CO PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U51909WB1938PTC009288

Company & Directors' Information:- U C DAS & CO PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U31200WB1987PTC042709

Company & Directors' Information:- DAS & DAS PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U51109WB1950PTC019222

Company & Directors' Information:- C S EDUCATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U80211DL2004PTC125711

Company & Directors' Information:- A S DAS CO PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U51109WB1957PTC023552

Company & Directors' Information:- A 2 Z EDUCATION LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U80903MH2008PLC183106

Company & Directors' Information:- S D EDUCATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U80903MH2004PTC147463

Company & Directors' Information:- DAS-G INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U24304DL2020PTC370609

Company & Directors' Information:- H CHANDRA PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65990MH1952PTC008894

Company & Directors' Information:- K-EDUCATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U80301MH2014PTC256056

Company & Directors' Information:- P W EDUCATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U80212TN2009PTC072151

Company & Directors' Information:- A S C EDUCATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U80904TG2015PTC099629

Company & Directors' Information:- V S INDIA EDUCATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U80904UP2016PTC084320

Company & Directors' Information:- O S EDUCATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74999UP2008PTC035501

Company & Directors' Information:- G D EDUCATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U80302DL2003PTC122716

Company & Directors' Information:- S S V EDUCATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U80904DL2012PTC245724

Company & Directors' Information:- S S M EDUCATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72200HR2010PTC040713

Company & Directors' Information:- P K DAS & CO PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U74210WB1955PTC022259

Company & Directors' Information:- P H EDUCATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U80211DL2008PTC177735

Company & Directors' Information:- O E S EDUCATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U80302DL2006PTC154572

Company & Directors' Information:- H C CHANDRA & CO. PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U20231WB1957PTC023337

Company & Directors' Information:- CHANDRA AND COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Dissolved] CIN = U74999KL1952PTC000280

Company & Directors' Information:- R. CHANDRA LIMITED [Not available for efiling] CIN = U99999MH1953PLC009175

    Case No. WA 133 of 2018

    Decided On, 20 October 2020

    At, High Court of Gauhati

    By, THE HONOURABLE ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE MR. N. KOTISWAR SINGH & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE MANISH CHOUDHURY

    For the Petitioner: D. Chakraborty, Advocate. For the Respondent: SC, Sec. Edu.



Judgment Text

Manish Choudhury, J1. The present writ appeal is preferred against the judgment and order dated 19.03.2018 of the learned Single Judge passed in the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017 whereby learned Single Judge rejected the prayer of the writ petitioner, who is the writ appellant here, for quashing the impugned letter of the Commissioner and Secretary to the Government of Assam, Secondary Education Department i.e. the respondent no. 1 therein and also the respondent no. 1 herein, dated 14.08.2017 as well as the directions contained therein. By the said judgment and order, the respondent authorities in the Secondary Education Department, Government of Assam were directed to issue a fresh advertisement for filling up the regular post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School, Hekra, District – Kamrup (Rural).2. The subject-matter in the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017, preferred by the writ appellant/writ petitioner, was the process of selection undertaken to fill up of the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School in regular manner pursuant to an advertisement dated 19.06.2016. Both the writ appellant/writ petitioner (Sri Prahlad Chandra Das) and the respondent no. 6 (Dr. Ganeswar Saharia) submitted their candidatures for the said post.3. As both the writ appellant/writ petitioner and the respondent no. 6 vied and are vying for the same post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School, the service careers of the two, as have emerged from the pleadings, can be taken note of briefly.3.1. It is stated by the writ appellant/writ petitioner (Sri Prahlad Chandra Das) that he is a Master degree holder in Arts in two subjects along with B.Ed. degree qualification. He was appointed as an Assistant Teacher in Nagarbera Higher Secondary School on 23.04.1993 in the intermediate scale of pay. The said post was subsequently upgraded to that of graduate scale of pay in terms of a common order dated 30.12.1993. On 10.03.1995, he was transferred to Bidyamandir Higher Secondary School, Guwahati. Accordingly, he joined in Bidyamandir Higher Secondary School as a Graduate Teacher and at the time of the said advertisement dated 19.06.2016, he was serving as such Graduate Teacher in Bidyamandir Higher Secondary School.3.2. The respondent no. 6 (Dr. Ganeswar Saharia) possesses an M.Sc. degree in Physics. He was initially appointed as a Post Graduate Teacher in Physics on 15.12.1987 in R.N. Choudhury Higher Secondary School. He was subsequently transferred to Hekra Higher Secondary School on 15.02.1990 where he joined on 01.03.1990. During his service, he also obtained B.Ed. degree as well as L.L.B. degree. He also acquired Ph.D. degree. The service of the respondent no. 6 was regularized vide an order dated 04.11.1999 and by an order dated 13.11.2002, his service was confirmed.4. The genesis of the lis is an advertisement published in the English daily newspaper, ‘the Assam Tribune’ in its issue dated 19.06.2016 by the then Principal In-Charge & Member Secretary, Hekra Higher Secondary School. By the said advertisement, applications were invited from candidates, through proper channel, having requisite qualifications, experience, etc. as per the rules laid down in letter no. GB-EST/Guidelines (Principal) 2013/181(A) of the Secondary Education Department with copies of all testimonials for selection of regular Principal of Hekra Higher Secondary School. The last date of submission of applications was fixed on 25.06.2016. The advertisement indicated the date of interview as 29.06.2016. It is not in dispute that the date of interview was deferred and the interview ultimately was held on 23.10.2016.5. A total of 8 (eight) nos. of candidates including the writ appellant/writ petitioner and the respondent no. 6, who responded to the said advertisement dated 19.06.2016, were interviewed on 23.10.2016 by the School Selection Committee constituted for the purpose. After completion of the interview, the School Selection Committee forwarded a panel of 3 (three) candidates to the State Selection Board through the concerned Inspector of Schools for its necessary consideration and approval. In the said panel, the name of the respondent no. 6 (Dr. Ganeswar Saharia) was recommended at 1st position whereas the name of the writ appellant/writ petitioner (Sri Prahlad Chandra Das) was listed at 2nd position. The name of one Sri Kabir Hussain appeared at 3rd position in the said panel.6. At that point of time, the writ appellant/writ petitioner (Sri Prahlad Chandra Das) started submitting representations before the State respondent authorities highlighting alleged irregularities occurred in the said process of selection and disputing the credentials and objecting to the candidature of the respondent no. 6 (Dr. Ganeswar Saharia) to appear in the interview. Such representations were stated to have been submitted on 30.12.2016, 02.01.2017 and 21.07.2017. It was contended that the respondent authorities conducted enquiries through the Inspector of Schools, Kamrup District Circle and the Joint Director of Secondary Education, Assam separately, who submitted their separate enquiry reports. Those enquiry reports were annexed as Annexure-14 and Annexure-15 respectively to the writ petition. The enquiry by the Inspector of Schools, Kamrup District Circle was conducted in deference to a letter dated 13.04.2017 from the Government in the Secondary Education Department and the enquiry report was submitted by him on 21.04.2017. It transpires from the enquiry report of the Joint Director of Secondary Education, Assam that the enquiry was conducted in terms of a letter dated 06.07.2017 of the Commissioner and Secretary to the Government of Assam, Secondary Education Department i.e. the respondent no. 1 to enquire into the matter regarding anomalies in the selection process undertaken in respect of filling up the post of Principal of Hekra Higher Secondary School. It was reported that the respondent no. 6 was allowed to hold the charge of Principal of Hekra Higher Secondary School vide an order dated 09.09.2016 of the Director of Secondary Education, Assam. It was only on 04.11.2016, one Sri Akan Chandra Kalita, a Subject Teacher of Hekra Higher Secondary School, was allowed to discharge the functions of Member-Secretary of the School Selection Committee of Hekra Higher Secondary School. As the name of the writ appellant/writ petitioner was shown at 2nd position in the panel of candidates, he stated to have represented before the respondent no. 1 on 10.08.2017 to appoint him as the Principal in Hekra Higher Secondary School as the candidate at 1st position i.e. the respondent no. 6 was to be held ineligible. The prime contentions were that during the process of selection, more particularly, on the date of interview the respondent no. 6 was discharging the functions of the Member-Secretary in the School Selection Committee and the respondent no. 6 had only 8 years 8 days of teaching experience on the last date of submission of applications i.e. 25.06.2016. Vide letter dated 14.08.2017, the respondent no. 1 informed the respondent no. 2 i.e. the Director of Secondary Education, Assam that the selection of Principal of Hekra Higher Secondary School was found erroneous and the respondent no. 2 was requested to take necessary steps for issuance of a fresh advertisement for selection to the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School.7. It was at that stage the writ appellant/writ petitioner approached this Court by way of W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017 praying, inter-alia, for quashing the impugned letter dated 14.08.2017 whereby it was directed to issue a fresh advertisement to fill up the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School and for a direction to appoint him as the Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School by holding the respondent no. 6 to be ineligible in respect of the selection process already conducted. A direction was further sought seeking quashing of an order dated 26.08.2016 of the respondent no. 2 whereby 3rd lien period of the respondent no. 6 had been regularized, an aspect about which mention would be made at a later stage.8. Learned Single Judge considered the issues involved and also took note of the findings recorded in the two enquiry reports, referred above. It has been found that the advertisement for the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School was published on 19.06.2016 when one Sri Nripen Chandra Das, a Graduate Teacher of the said School was holding the charge of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School. The respondent no. 6 was, later on, allowed to hold the charge of Principal of Hekra Higher Secondary School in addition to his normal duties under F.R. 49(c) by an order dated 09.09.2016 passed by the respondent no. 2. The interview for the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School was held by the School Selection Committee on 23.10.2016 when the respondent no. 6 was holding the charge of Principal of the same very School. In view of such fact of holding the charge of Principal on In-Charge basis emerging from the records, learned Single Judge did not find fault with the letter dated 14.08.2017 of the respondent no. 1 wherein it was observed that the selection process was erroneous and a direction was made for issuance of a fresh advertisement to fill up the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School.9. Another aspect had emerged during the pendency of the writ petition, W.P.(C) 6158/2017. The Court while issuing notice to the respondents in W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017 had ordered, in the interim, on 22.09.2017 that the letter dated 14.08.2017 made for a fresh advertisement would remain stayed. It was further observed that the pendency of the writ petition would not be a bar to appoint the Principal on the basis of the earlier exercise. When the said interim order dated 22.09.2017 was in force, another advertisement was published on 27.09.2017 by the President, School Management and Development Committee, Hekra Higher Secondary School inviting applications for the post of Principal of the School which were to be submitted within 10 (ten) days from the date of the advertisement. Thereafter, the School Selection Committee also conducted interview on 15.10.2017 in respect of the said advertisement and forwarded a panel of candidates to the State Selection Board recommending the name of the respondent no. 6 again at 1st position in the said panel. The writ appellant/writ petitioner filed an interlocutory application, I.A.(Civil) no. 4028/2017 assailing such actions on the part of the respondents, during the pendency of the writ petition, as illegal and to be in violation of the interim order dated 22.09.2017. Learned Single Judge has also found such actions on the part of the respondent authorities in Hekra Higher Secondary School including the advertisement dated 27.09.2017 and the interview/selection conducted by the School Selection Committee on 15.10.2017 along with the recommendation made thereof, illegal and bad in law.10. We have heard Mr. B. Purkayastha, learned counsel for the appellant and Mr. U.K. Nair, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the respondent no. 6. We have also heard Ms. P. Chakraborty, learned Standing Counsel, Secondary Education Department for the State respondent nos. 1, 2, 3 and 5. Notice had been served on the respondent no. 4 but none has appeared for the respondent no. 4.11. Mr. Purkayastha has contended that the decision of the respondent no. 1 to issue a fresh advertisement on finding the selection process erroneous, is arbitrary and irrational. Since the respondent no. 6, the 1st ranked candidate, stood disqualified because of his role in the selection process where he himself was a candidate, it was the writ appellant/writ petitioner who should be appointed to the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School. There was no finding to the effect that the appellant/writ petitioner was ineligible to hold the post and it was only after finding him eligible for the post, the School Selection Committee had placed him at 2nd position in the panel. He has further submitted that the proposed fresh selection process would be an indirect attempt to overcome the respondent no. 6’s ineligibility on the count of experience. It is submitted by him that as the decision to regularize the lien period of the respondent no. 6 for the 3rd year was made only after the last date of submission of applications for the post of Principal pursuant to the advertisement dated 19.06.2016 the respondent no. 6 was clearly ineligible to sit in the interview. It is the further contention of the learned counsel for the writ appellant/writ petitioner that the decisions contained in the impugned letter dated 14.08.2017 are clearly arbitrary as no reason was assigned for cancellation of the earlier selection process and to undertake the selection process afresh. It is also submitted by him that the writ appellant/writ petitioner has already been appointed as Principal of Hekra Higher Secondary School by an order dated 28.02.2018 which was during the pendency of the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017 and hence, no interference is called for at this stage in the facts and circumstances of the case. Mr. Purkayastha has also made an alternative submission to the effect that during the pendency of this writ appeal, a new set of rules viz. the Assam Secondary Education (Provincialized Schools) Service Rules, 2018 (‘the Rules, 2018’ and/or ‘the 2018 Rules’, for short) have come into force and as per the Rules, 2018, the respondent no. 6 is not eligible to apply for the post of Principal in a Higher Secondary School in view of the age bar provided therein.12. Supporting the judgment and order dated 19.03.2018, Mr. Nair, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the respondent no. 6 has submitted that the writ appellant/writ petitioner had approached this Court by misrepresentation of vital and relevant facts. He has submitted that notwithstanding the interdiction of the earlier selection process for the alleged role of the respondent no. 6 therein, the decision of the State respondent authorities to initiate a fresh process of selection for the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School is just and proper in the fact situation obtaining in the case in hand. Though there was no biasness on the part of the respondent no. 6 in the earlier selection process, the same was decided to be cancelled in the midway by the State respondent authorities. Thus, he submits, the earlier selection process did not reach any logical conclusion with the finalization of any select list. In so far as the contention of the writ appellant/writ petitioner as regards lack of teaching experience of 15 years on the part of the respondent no. 6 is concerned, it is submitted by him that the Rules, 2003 did not contemplate 15 years of continuous teaching experience. Even it is assumed that there was a break in service for the period from 15.06.2007 to 17.06.2008, the respondent no. 6 had more than 15 years teaching experience on the last date of submission of application i.e. on 25.06.2016. He has further submitted that in any view of the matter, the order of the Director of Secondary Education, Assam to treat the period w.e.f. 15.06.2007 to 17.06.2008 as a period of unauthorized absence with break in service, has already been set aside by this Court by an order dated 23.07.2019 passed in W.P. (C) no. 1047/2018 and the effect of such setting aside would relate back to the earlier period. It is further submitted by him that all these litigations have been resorted to by the writ appellant/writ petitioner in order to delay the fresh selection process so that the respondent no. 6 who is eligible in all respects for the post of Principal at issue, could be deprived from the opportunity to participate in the fresh process of selection as the respondent no. 6 is supposed to retire from service on 30.10.2020 on reaching the age of superannuation. Accordingly, Mr. Nair has submitted that the present writ appeal being devoid of merit, is to be dismissed with the direction to complete the fresh process of selection within 30.11.2020 as the respondent no. 6 has a legitimate expectation of being appointed as a Principal in the School after more than three decades of dedicated service. Mr. Nair has further submitted that the 2018 Rules has no applicability in the instant case in view of the facts that, firstly, the vacancy was in existence since 2016 for which the earlier selection process was undertaken and, secondly, the direction has specifically been made in the judgment and order impugned herein.13. Ms. Chakraborty, learned Standing Counsel for the Secondary Education Department has submitted that the appointment of the writ appellant/writ petitioner as a Principal of Hekra Higher Secondary School by order dated 28.02.2018 was made in view of the interim order dated 22.09.2017 passed in W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017 making it specific that the said appointment would be subject to the final decision in W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017. Thus, she submits, no finality can be attached to the said order dated 28.02.2018 as it was only interim in nature. Relying on a letter dated 28.07.2020 of the Director of Secondary Education, Assam sent to the respondent no. 1, as a set of instructions (placed in the record by marking it as ‘X’), learned Standing Counsel has submitted that the writ appellant/writ petitioner could not and did not join in the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School pursuant to the order dated 28.02.2018. Though the writ appellant/writ petitioner was released from his earlier School, Bidyamandir Higher Secondary School the writ appellant/writ petitioner would be allowed to join in his earlier post as the said post of Graduate Teacher is still lying vacant. In fact, the writ appellant/writ petitioner had himself submitted a petition dated 28.03.2020 requesting the respondent no. 1 to revert him back to his original post by regularizing his salary, etc.14. We have duly considered the submissions made by the learned counsel for the parties and also perused the materials available on record. We have also taken note of the subsequent events brought on record by the parties by additional pleadings in the present writ appeal.15. At the relevant point of time in the year 2016, the recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to the Assam Secondary Education (Provincialized) Service were regulated and governed by the Assam Secondary Education (Provincialized) Service Rules, 2003 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Rules, 2003’ and/or ‘the 2003 Rules’, for short), framed in exercise of the powers conferred by the proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution of India. As per Rule 3(1)(a) of the 2003 Rules, the cadre of Principal in a Higher Secondary School was included in Class II (Senior). Sub-rule (4) of Rule 8 had provided for a School Selection Committee for selection of Principal and the composition of the School Selection Committee was as under:“Chairman : The President of Managing Committee;Member : (i) The Vice-Principal/ a Post Graduate Teacher in case of Higher Secondary School or Assistant Headmaster/Senior most Graduate Teacher in case of High School;(ii) One parent to be nominated by the Managing Committee;Member Secretary : The Principal/Headmaster of the School.”16. Rule 12 of the 2003 Rules had provided for the recruitment of Principal in Higher Secondary/Higher Secondary & Multipurpose School and qualifications thereof. For ready reference, Rule 12 is extracted in extenso hereinbelow:“12. Recruitment of Principal in the Higher Secondary/Higher Secondary & Multipurpose School and qualification thereof -(1) The posts of the Principal in provincialized Higher Secondary Schools and Higher Secondary and Multipurpose Schools shall be filled up by direct recruitment.(2) The minimum qualifications for appointment to the post of Principal in Higher Secondary School or Higher Secondary and Multipurpose School shall be as follows:(i) The candidate must be M.A./M.Sc./M.Com. with B.T./B.Ed. degree from any recognized University having uniform good academic career;(ii) The candidate must have rendered at least 15 years of service as Post Graduate Teachers or Vice-Principal or both in any provincialized Higher Secondary School; or(iii) The candidate must have 17 years of teaching experience as Graduate Teacher in any Higher Secondary/Higher Secondary & Multipurpose School;(iv) The age must not be less than 40 years as on the first January of the year of recruitment;(v) The candidate must possess commanding personality, administrative ability and leadership skills’.”17. Rule 13 of the Rules, 2003 had provided for the procedure of selection of Principal in Higher Secondary/Higher Secondary & Multipurpose Schools. On receipt of applications from eligible candidates the School Selection Committee after scrutiny of the applications, shall hold an interview and prepare a panel of names taking into consideration the aspects like leadership skills, administrative ability, integrity and commanding personality. The panel of names so prepared by the School Selection Committee, was to be forwarded through the concerned Inspector of Schools to the State Selection Board constituted under Rule 16 of the 2003 Rules for approval. After receipt of such a panel, the State Selection Board was to prepare a select list equal to the number of vacant posts taking into consideration aspects such as leadership skills, administrative ability, integrity and commanding personality. The select list so prepared and recommended by the State Selection Board, shall have to be submitted to the Government. The Government may after causing such verification as may be deemed necessary, accord approval for appointment. As per Rule 16, the State Selection Board at the State level was to be constituted by the State Government for recommendation of the candidates for the cadre of Principal of a Higher Secondary/Higher Secondary & Multipurpose School with (i) the Commissioner and Secretary to the Government of Assam, Education (Secondary) Department or his nominee, not below the rank of a Joint Secretary in the Department as the Chairman; (ii) Director of Secondary Education, Assam as the Member Secretary; and (iii) One reputed educationist either an officer of the Assam Education Service or a Principal of a Higher Secondary School, to be nominated by the Government as the Member.18. On 15.06.2016, the Director of Secondary Education, Assam issued an office order to overcome a situation where the In-Charge Principal of a particular school himself was a candidate for the post of Principal of that school. In such a case, the Inspector of Schools was to notify a Post Graduate Teacher having Master degree with B.Ed. or the senior most Graduate Teacher having Master degree with B.Ed. to discharge the functions of MemberSecretary of the School Selection Committee constituted under the Rules, 2003, as amended. It was further provided that in case of absence of a Post Graduate Teacher having Master degree with B.Ed., a Senior Teacher having Master degree was to be preferred. By another order dated 23.06.2016, the Director of Secondary Education, Assam provided for break-up of 15 marks towards Leadership Skills (5 marks), Administrative Ability (5 marks) and Integrity (5 marks) to give the process of selection the sense of objectivity and to maintain a record for future in case the selection process comes under scrutiny.19. As could be noticed from above, the process of selection for filling up the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School was set into motion with the publication of the advertisement in the newspaper on 19.06.2016 by the then Principal In-Charge & MemberSecretary, Hekra Higher Secondary School. The applications were to be submitted by the eligible candidates within 25.06.2016. The date of interview, as per the advertisement, was fixed on 29.06.2016, which was deferred, later on, to 23.10.2016. It is found from the report of the Joint Director of Secondary Education, Assam that 8 (eight) nos. of candidates responded to the said advertisement and appeared in the interview held on 23.10.2016. It was further reported that at the time of publication of the advertisement for the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School on 19.06.2016, one Sri Nripen Kumar Das, Graduate Teacher was holding the charge of Principal of Hekra Higher Secondary School. From a perusal of the order dated 09.09.2016 of the Director of Secondary Education, Assam, it has emerged that said Sri Nripen Kumar Das was released from the charge of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School as per his prayer made in a petition dated 31.08.2016 submitted by him. While releasing Sri Nripen Kumar Das from the charge of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School the Director of Secondary Education, Assam by his said order dated 09.09.2016, allowed the respondent no. 6 to hold the charge of Principal of Hekra Higher Secondary School along with financial power to draw and disburse the salary, etc. of the staff of the School under F.R. 49(c) in addition to his normal duties as Subject Teacher until further order.20. The respondent no. 6 in the interlocutory application, I.A. (Civil) no. 3934/2017 filed in W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017 seeking vacation/modification/cancellation of the interim order dated 22.09.2017, had admitted that pursuant to the afore-mentioned order dated 09.09.2016, he assumed the charge of Principal and started discharging duties as Principal In-Charge of Hekra Higher Secondary School. It was projected by the respondent no. 6 that although he did not act as the Member-Secretary of the School Selection Committee but call letters to the candidates were issued by him. The fact that the call letters were issued by the respondent no. 6 to the candidates for the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School is evident from the call letter dated 20.10.2016 (Annexure-8 to the writ petition) issued to the writ appellant/writ petitioner requesting him to attend the interview scheduled on 23.10.2016 wherein his signature appeared. After the interviews held on 23.10.2016, the School Selection Committee prepared the panel of 3 (three) candidates in order of merit and forwarded the same to the State Selection Board through the concerned Inspector of Schools. In the said panel, the name of the respondent no. 6 appeared at 1st position and the name of the writ appellant/writ petitioner appeared at 2nd position.21. It was after preparation of the said panel, the writ appellant/writ petitioner submitted representations, referred above, before the authorities primarily raising two contentions, firstly, that during the selection process the respondent no. 6 while himself participating as a candidate for the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School, also acted as the Principal In-Charge and Member-Secretary of the School Selection Committee and, secondly, that the respondent no. 6 on the last date of submission of application, did not have 15 years of service as Post Graduate Teacher as his lien for 1 (one) year for the 3rd term w.e.f. 15.06.2007 to 17.06.2008 was disapproved by the competent authority. The writ appellant/writ petitioner contended that the candidature of the respondent no. 6 was to be held disqualified. On receipt of the representations of the writ appellant/writ petitioner, enquiries were conducted by the respondent authorities through the Inspector of Schools, Kamrup District Circle and the Joint Director of Secondary Education, Assam, reference about which have already been made hereinabove. While the Inspector of Schools, Kamrup District Circle in his report dated 21.04.2017 dealt with the aspect of lien the report of the Joint Director of Secondary Education, Assam dealt with both the aspects. As the learned Single Judge had declined to interfere with the decision taken by the respondent no. 1 vide his letter dated 14.08.2017 for a fresh selection process upon dwelling on the first issue it would be apposite to deliberate upon the same first.22. It has clearly emerged from the materials on record that since 09.09.2016 onwards the respondent no. 6 was functioning as the Principal In-Charge, Hekra Higher Secondary School whereas the process of selection got started with the publication of the advertisement on 19.06.2016. The respondent no. 6 had submitted his candidature for the said post. After assuming the charge of Principal In-Charge, Hekra Higher Secondary School, the respondent no. 6 was involved in the process of screening the applications of the candidates as well as issuance of call letters to the candidates for the interview scheduled on 23.10.2016. It is clearly discernible from the interview call letter (Annexure-8 to the writ petition) that the respondent no. 6 was involved in the process of selection on 20.10.2016 also. On the date of the interview i.e. on 23.10.2016, the respondent no. 6 was holding the said charge of Principal of the School and at the same time, he appeared in the said interview also along with the other candidates including the writ appellant/writ petitioner. It was only on 04.11.2016 the Inspector of Schools, by his order dated 04.11.2016, allowed one Sri Akan Chandra Kalita, a Subject Teacher of the said School, to function as the Member-Secretary in the School Selection Committee of Hekra Higher Secondary School.23. It is well settled in law that mere inclusion of name of a candidate in the select list does not confer on such candidate any vested right to get an order of appointment. The responsibility entrusted to the School Selection Committee under the Rules, 2003 was to hold interview and prepare a panel of names and thereafter, to forward the same to the State Selection Board for approval. On receipt of such a panel, the State Selection Board was to prepare a select list, meaning thereby, one candidate was to be selected against one post and thereafter, to submit the same to the Government. The Government after causing such verification, had to accord its approval for appointment. In the case in hand, it was immediately after forwarding of the panel by the School Selection Committee, enquiries were caused, apparently at the instance of the writ appellant/writ petitioner, by the respondent no. 1 through the concerned Inspector of School and the Joint Director of Secondary Education, Assam separately. It was at that stage the respondent no. 1 vide the impugned letter dated 14.08.2017 interdicted the selection process. Thus, it is evident that in the case in hand, the process of selection undertaken to select a candidate for the vacant post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School did not crystallize in a select list for appointment at the time of filing the writ petition.24. The stand taken by the respondent no. 1 in his affidavit filed on 29.10.2017 in the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017 was to the effect that enquiries were initiated on receipt of representations from the writ appellant/writ petitioner as regards the selection process. As the enquiry report indicated anomalies with regard to the selection process wherein the respondent no. 6 was placed at serial no. 1 in the panel the State Government decided not to act upon such recommendation of the respondent no. 6 by the School Selection Committee. It was averred that as the State Government had found the recommendation of the School Selection Committee to be erroneous there could not be any appointment from the candidates nominated at 2nd or 3rd position. It was contended that the State Government was not satisfied with the selection of the nominee at the 1st position and thus, it was open for the employer to cancel the earlier selection process where irregularities were found, and to initiate a fresh selection process. From the aforesaid stand of the respondent no. 1 it is clear that the selection process pursuant to the advertisement dated 19.06.2016 did not reach its logical conclusion.25. In such fact situation, there was no legal right available for the writ appellant/writ petitioner at the time of filing of the writ petition, to insist that because of his 2nd position in the panel he should be appointed to the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School since the candidate at the 1st position i.e. the respondent no. 6 was found to be ineligible because at that point of time there was no select list on which the State Selection Board and the State Government had accorded any kind of approval.26. It is no doubt true that the respondent no. 6 being a candidate in the selection process undertaken to fill up the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School, was interested in the outcome of the said selection process. The principle nemo judex in causa sua, that is, no man shall be a judge in his own cause is also applicable in a process of selection. It is settled that justice should not only be done but should manifestly be seen to be done. There was a directive already in place by the order dated 15.06.2016 of the Director of Secondary Education, Assam that in case the In-Charge Principal of a particular school himself was a candidate for the post of Principal of that school then the functions of the Member-Secretary of the School Selection Committee had to be discharged by another person, indicated therein. In the case in hand, no material is available to hold that at the relevant time the process of selection was undergoing any person other than the respondent no. 6, was discharging the function of the Member-Secretary of the School Selection Committee. There was no request on the part of the respondent no. 6 to nominate another person in his place to make the process to look fair and transparent in the estimation of other candidates. It is not a case where the respondent no. 6 could have continued in such a manner by virtue of the doctrine of necessity. It is not only presence of biasness but also a real likelihood of presence of biasness which can vitiate a selection process. In such view of the matter, we do not find any good and sufficient reason to depart from the view taken by the learned Single Judge in respect of the decisions taken by the respondent no. 1 in holding the process of selection of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School to be erroneous and in directing the Director of Secondary Education, Assam to take necessary steps for a fresh advertisement for the said post.27. In so far as the contention of the writ appellant/writ petitioner that the impugned decision dated 14.08.2017 was arbitrary being bereft of reasons, is concerned the same cannot be countenanced. It is not that the respondent authorities had cancelled the earlier process of selection merely on receipt of complaints like the representations from the writ appellant/writ petitioner. After receipt of the representations, the respondent authorities had caused enquiries, as have been discussed above. Any such decision of cancellation of a selection process can be taken only after due application of mind and on the basis of tangible materials. Contemporaneous records in the form of the enquiry report indicating anomalies occurred during the process of selection at issue, were found available before the respondent no. 1 took the impugned decisions and it was only after considering the materials available therein, the impugned decisions were taken. Thus, it cannot be said that the impugned decisions were taken mechanically and without reaching any prima facie satisfaction about the irregularities appeared to have taken place in the selection process.28. The other contention of the writ appellant/writ petitioner in the writ petition was that on the last date of submission of applications for the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School i.e. on 25.06.2016, the respondent no. 6 did not have 15 years of service as Post Graduate Teacher in a Higher Secondary School, as required under Rule 12 of the 2003 Rules for being appointed as a Principal in a Higher Secondary School. It was contended that the lien for the period from June, 2007 to June, 2008, a period when the respondent no. 6 was purportedly on deputation, was not regularized by the State respondent authorities and thus, the respondent no. 6 had to be considered to be having teaching experience of 8 years 8 days only, which fact had been mentioned in the enquiry report of the Joint Director of Secondary Education, Assam (Annexure-15 to the writ petition). In the said enquiry report of the Joint Director of Secondary Education, Assam, it was reported that the respondent no. 6 served as a Director, Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS), Kamrup w.e.f. 16.06.2005. Though lien was granted for 1st year (1st term) w.e.f. 15.06.2005 to 14.06.2006 and for 2nd year (2nd term) w.e.f. 15.06.2006 to 14.06.2007 the lien for the 3rd year (3rd term) w.e.f. 15.06.2017 to 17.06.2018 was not granted initially. It was the contention of the writ appellant/writ petitioner that vide an order dated 17.06.2008, the Director of Secondary Education, Assam had rejected the proposal of extension of lien for the 3rd year in respect of the respondent no. 6. It was the further contention of the writ appellant/writ petitioner that by another order dated 03.05.2014, the Director of Secondary Education, Assam had treated the period from 15.06.2007 to 17.06.2008 as a period of unauthorized absence in respect of respondent no. 6.29. It was the contention of the respondent no. 6 before the learned Single Judge through the interlocutory application, I.A.(Civil) no. 3934/2017 that while he was serving as a Subject Teacher in Hekra Higher Secondary School he applied for lien initially for a period of 1 (one) year to join as a Director, Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS), Kamrup under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. On being granted lien vide an order dated 14.06.2005 for a period of 1 (one) year w.e.f. 15.06.2005 to 14.06.2006 he joined in the said assignment. After completion of his 1st year, he was granted lien for another period w.e.f. 15.06.2006 to 14.06.2007. He submitted an application on 09.05.2007 before the Director of Secondary Education, Assam requesting to extend his lien period for the 3rd year w.e.f. 15.06.2007 to 14.06.2008. With the expectation that he would be granted such extension for the 3rd year as there was provision for grant of lien for a maximum period of 3 years as per the Office Memorandum dated 23.12.1997 of the Finance Department, Government of Assam, the respondent no. 6 stated to have continued as Director, JSS during the said period. But when the Director of Secondary Education, Assam vide his order dated 17.06.2008 did not extend the period, he immediately joined in his original post of Subject Teacher in Hekra Higher Secondary School on 18.06.2008. The respondent no. 6 stated to have submitted an application dated 16.09.2008 before the Director of Secondary Education, Assam with a request to grant him leave for the said period for the purpose of continuation of his services w.e.f. 15.06.2007 to 17.06.2008. But the Director of Secondary Education, Assam again by his order dated 03.05.2014 rejected the said prayer holding that the said period was to be treated as a period of unauthorized absence with an entry in that regard in his service book.30. When the representation dated 20.06.2014 submitted by the respondent no. 6 was not considered, the respondent no. 6 preferred a writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 5685/2014. During the pendency of the said writ petition, the Director of Secondary Education, Assam submitted a proposal before the respondent no. 1 on 30.10.2015 to grant extra-ordinary leave to the respondent no. 6 for the period from 15.06.2007 to 17.06.2008 for regularization of the gap period. Taking note of the Office Memorandum dated 23.12.1997 and the proposal dated 30.10.2015, the writ petition was disposed of by an order dated 03.08.2016 directing the respondent no. 1 to pass an order on the proposal submitted by the Director of Secondary Education, Assam on 30.10.2015 for grant of extra-ordinary leave to the respondent no. 6 or in the alternative, to grant lien for the said period. While setting aside the order dated 03.05.2014 of the Director of Secondary Education, Assam direction was issued to the respondent no. 1 to take such decision within a period of 2 (two) months from the date of receipt of the certified copy. The State Government in the Secondary Education Department, Assam vide its letter dated 05.08.2016 had accorded its approval to grant lien for the 3rd year w.e.f. 15.06.2007 to 17.06.2008 in respect of respondent no. 6.31. That part of the report of the Joint Director of Secondary Education, Assam wherein it was reported that the teaching experience of the respondent no. 6 on the last date of submission of application for the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School i.e. on 25.06.2016 in respect of the advertisement dated 19.06.2016, was only 8 years 8 days was put to challenge by the respondent no. 6 in a writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 1047/2018 and the said writ petition was allowed by an order dated 23.07.2019. It was observed therein that the enquiry report itself indicated that the petitioner therein (Dr. Ganeswar Saharia) had rendered more than 29 years of service and the Court reached a satisfaction that there was apparent error on the face of the report as the finding with regard to the teaching experience of the respondent no. 6 as 8 years 8 days was contrary to the factual position as recorded in the said enquiry report. Having observed so, the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 1047/2018 was allowed by setting aside the said enquiry report as far as the finding to the effect that the teaching experience of the petitioner therein (Dr. Ganeswar Saharia) was only 8 years 8 days on the last date of submission of the application on 25.06.2016. The authorities were directed to recalculate the actual length of teaching experience of the petitioner therein (Dr. Ganeswar Saharia) on the basis of the fact which had already been recorded in the enquiry report of the Joint Director of Secondary Education, Assam and to take necessary actions accordingly thereafter. Nothing has been brought to the notice of this Court by any of the parties to the effect that the said order dated 23.07.2019 passed in W.P.(C) no. 1047/2018 has been reversed at any subsequent period. Thus, there is no further necessity for this Court to deliberate on the said issue.32. At this juncture, we take note of the events that took place subsequent to the passing of the interim order dated 22.09.2017 in W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017, brought to the notice of this Court by the parties by way of additional pleadings.32.1. Pursuant to the direction contained in the impugned letter dated 14.08.2017 of the respondent no. 1 whereby a direction was given to the Director of Secondary Education, Assam to take necessary steps for a fresh advertisement for the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School, the Inspector of Schools, Kamrup District Circle vide his letter dated 21.09.2017 requested the Principal In-Charge, Hekra Higher Secondary School to take necessary steps for a fresh advertisement for the post of Principal of the said School and to submit a panel of 3 (three) candidates on or before 15.10.2017. Thereafter, an advertisement was published in different newspapers including one in the English Daily newspaper, ‘the Sentinel’ in its issue dated 27.09.2017 inviting applications for the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School. By letter dated 05.10.2017, the Inspector of Schools, Kamrup District Circle asked Sri Akan Chandra Kalita, Subject Teacher, Hekra Higher Secondary School to discharge the duties of the Member-Secretary of the School Selection Committee in the interview for the post of Principal scheduled to be held on 15.10.2017.32.2. The School Selection Committee had held interview on 15.10.2017 and prepared a panel of 3 (three) candidates. The panel of candidates so submitted by the School Selection Committee, was forwarded by the Inspector of Schools, Kamrup District Circle to the Director of Secondary Education, Assam for its approval.32.3. It is noticed that on the recommendation of State Selection Board and approval of the Government accorded on 20.02.2018, the Director of Secondary Education, Assam by an order dated 28.02.2018 had appointed the writ appellant/writ petitioner (Sri Prahlad Chandra Das) as Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School on regular basis with immediate effect from the date of his joining. The said order of appointment dated 28.02.2018 was made subject to the final decision of this Court in W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017.32.4. Aggrieved by such appointment of the writ appellant/writ petitioner as the Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School during the pendency of the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017, more so, when the operation of the interim order dated 22.09.2017 was in force, the respondent no. 6 had preferred a writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 1265/2018 challenging the said order dated 28.02.2018. Having prima facie satisfied, the order dated 28.02.2018 was stayed by an interim order dated 07.03.2018 passed in W.P.(C) no. 1265/2018 until further order. While directing to list the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 1265/2018 on 02.04.2018 it was further ordered that the Inspector of Schools, Kamrup District Circle shall discharge the duties of the Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School.32.5. The details of the recommendation of State Selection Board and the approval of the Government accorded on 20.02.2018, as appearing in the order dated 28.02.2018 are not discernible from the materials on record. Nothing in that regard, more particularly, as to whether the recommendation of State Selection Board and the approval of the Government accorded on 20.02.2018 was relatable to the advertisement dated 19.06.2016 or relatable to the advertisement dated 27.09.2017, has been disclosed and/or brought on record by any of the parties.32.6. Thereafter, the judgment and order dated 19.03.2018, impugned in the present writ appeal, came to be passed. On 05.04.2018, an office order was passed by the Director of Secondary Education, Assam whereby the Inspector of Schools, Kamrup District Circle was allowed to hold the charge of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School and to process a fresh selection process in compliance of the judgment and order dated 19.03.2018 passed in the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017 within 31.05.2018.32.7. When the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 1265/2018 was listed on 06.04.2018, it was brought the notice of the Court on behalf of the writ petitioner therein (Dr. Ganeswar Saharia) about the disposal of the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017 on 19.03.2018 and about the direction to conduct a fresh selection in respect of the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School. Having taken note of the said facts, the learned Single Judge closed the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 1265/2018 observing that there was no requirement for adjudication in the matter. The interim order passed earlier was also vacated.32.8. On 11.04.2018, the respondent no. 6 by filing a petition brought the aforesaid events to the notice of the Director of Secondary Education, Assam. The Director of Secondary Education, Assam had, thereafter on 09.05.2018, passed a speaking order whereby the Inspector of Schools, Kamrup District Circle was allowed to continue to hold the charge of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School in continuance of the earlier order dated 05.04.2018 to draw and disburse the salary, etc. of the staff of the School and to conduct a fresh selection process for the post of Principal of the School.32.9. Assailing the judgment and order dated 19.03.2018 passed in W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017, the writ appellant/writ petitioner had preferred the present appeal and this Court on 21.05.2018 while admitting the appeal, had stayed the operation of the judgment and order dated 19.03.2018 until further order.32.10. After passing of the order dated 21.05.2018, the writ appellant/writ petitioner submitted a representation before the Inspector of School, Kamrup District Circle on 15.11.2019 with the prayer to allow him to function as Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School on regular basis in terms of the order dated 28.02.2018 without, however, disclosing the fact of disposal of the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017 on 19.03.2018 with the directions made therein and the order of stay granted on 21.05.2018 in the present writ appeal. At the cost of repetition, it may be mentioned that the order dated 28.02.2018 whereby the writ appellant/writ petitioner was appointed as Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School, was made subject to the outcome of the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017 and the learned Single Judge while dismissing the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017 had observed that the interim order dated 22.09.2017 stood merged with the order dated 19.03.2018.32.11. It was represented by the writ appellant/writ petitioner that after interview the State Selection Board had duly selected him for the post of Principal and thereafter, the Government had also accorded its approval to the said recommendation resulting in his appointment as the Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School on 28.02.2018. It was further represented that pursuant to the order dated 28.02.2018, he was released by the Principal of Bidyamaandir Higher Secondary School on 05.03.2018 allowing him to join at Hekra Higher Secondary School and accordingly, he joined as a Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School on 05.03.2018 by submitting joining report. It was further stated by him that he was not allowed to discharge the duties of Principal. Alleging non-disposal of his representation dated 15.11.2019, the writ appellant/writ petitioner had preferred another writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 8967/2019. It was submitted before the Court by the writ appellant/writ petitioner that he would be satisfied if a direction was issued to the State respondent authorities to consider his representation dated 15.11.2019. The said writ petition, W.P.(C) 8967/2019 was disposed of by an order dated 16.12.2019 directing the respondent authorities to consider his representation dated 15.11.2019 by passing a speaking order within a period of 1 (one) month from the date of receipt of a certified copy of the order. The writ appellant/writ petitioner appeared to have filed a contempt petition, COP(C) no. 70/2020 alleging violation of the direction contained in the order dated 16.12.2019.32.12. A speaking order dated 28.05.2020 came to be passed by the Director of Secondary Education, Assam in compliance of the order dated 16.12.2019 passed in the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 8976/2019 whereby the writ appellant/writ petitioner was allowed to continue as per the office order dated 28.02.2018 and decision was also taken to release his monthly salaries.32.13. Assailing the speaking order dated 28.05.2020, the respondent no. 6 preferred a writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 2323/2020 and an order was passed on 08.06.2020 whereby the Court directed to maintain status quo as on 08.06.2020 with regard to the post of Principal until further orders.32.14. Learned Standing Counsel, Secondary Education Department on the basis of instructions received in the form of a letter dated 2

Please Login To View The Full Judgment!

8.07.2020 of the Director of Secondary Education, Assam, placed before this Court by the learned Standing Counsel, Secondary Education Department and marked as ‘X’, has submitted that the writ appellant/writ petitioner had submitted a petition dated 28.03.2020 before the respondent no. 1 wherein he made a request to revert him back to his parent post of Graduate Teacher in Bidyamandir Higher Secondary School as he could not take charge as regular Principal in Hekra Higher Secondary School. Learned Standing Counsel has further submitted that the said post of Graduate Teacher in Bidyamandir Higher Secondary School where the writ appellant/writ petitioner was earlier serving, is still lying vacant and as per the report of the Inspector of Schools, Kamrup District Circle, the writ appellant/writ petitioner could not take charge of or did not join as Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School till 15.06.2020.32.15. The Director of Secondary Education, Assam on the basis of the petition dated 28.03.2020 had requested the respondent no. 1 vide the letter dated 28.07.2020 (‘X’) to look into the matter and to accord necessary approval for reverting that the writ appellant/writ petitioner back to his original post as Graduate Teacher in Bidyamandir Higher Secondary School, Guwahati.33. It is not in doubt in any manner that the order dated 22.09.2017 passed in W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017 was interim in nature. It is settled that an interim order always merges into the final order to be passed in the case and if the case is ultimately dismissed, any benefit granted in the interim order stands nullified automatically. It is also settled that any undeserved advantage gained by the party by virtue of an interim order invoking the jurisdiction of the Court is to be undone at the time of the final decision in the case. The appointment of the writ appellant/writ petitioner by order dated 28.02.2018 was interim in nature as it was passed during the pendency of the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017 and prior to the passing of the final order on 18.03.2018. It was made specific in the order dated 28.02.2018 itself that the appointment of the writ appellant/writ petitioner would be subject to the final outcome in the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017. The writ petition was filed challenging the sustainability of the decisions contained in the impugned letter dated 14.08.2017 and the eligibility of the respondent no. 6. The order of stay granted in respect of the impugned letter dated 14.08.2017 could not have been construed in a sense that it was wiped out from existence. The sustainability of the decisions contained therein was to be considered at the time of final decision in the case. It was in that line, the purport of the other part of the interim order that the pendency of the case shall not be a bar to appoint the Principal on the basis of the earlier exercise was to be construed. In case of any ambiguity in understanding an interim order, the effect of interim order has to be considered and understood by looking at the prayer made for interim relief and the facts of the given case. In the writ petition, W.P.(C) no. 6158/2017, the writ appellant/writ petitioner had prayed for interim relief to the extent of staying the operation of the impugned letter dated 14.08.2017 and further restraining the respondents from embarking on a fresh round of selection for the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School. Thus, the plea advanced on the part of the writ appellant/writ petitioner that he was appointed as a regular Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School by order dated 28.02.2018 is not acceptable in any manner. Therefore, we find no merit in such contention.34. In so far as the status of the writ appellant/writ petitioner is concerned, it is open for the respondent authorities to consider the prayers made by him in the petition dated 28.03.2020 in accordance with law.35. As regards the contention of the writ appellant/writ petitioner about the applicability of the 2018 Rules in the fresh process of selection to be undertaken to fill up the post of Principal, Hekra Higher Secondary School is concerned, the same cannot be countenanced as the direction to fill up the post by fresh process of selection with the publication of advertisement was made by the learned Single Judge on 18.03.2018 with the further direction to complete the entire exercise at an early date, preferably within 2 (two) months, on or before 31.05.2018. Learned Single Judge had directed the respondent authorities to complete the selection process by the provisions of the Rules, 2003, as amended, and the Office Memorandum and Guidelines of the State Government with regard to the selection of Principal in provincialized Higher Secondary School then in force. Thus, we are of the view that the process of selection shall be undertaken in terms of the Rules, etc. existing as on 18.03.2018. Considering the fact that Hekra Higher Secondary School is without any regular Principal for a long time, as has already been observed by the learned Single Judge, and that the respondent no. 6 is going to retire on 30.11.2020 on superannuation, we direct the respondent authorities to complete the entire exercise with utmost expedition, within a period of 1 (one) month from today.36. In view of the above discussion, we find no merit in the writ appeal. Resultantly, the writ appeal is dismissed with, however, the observations made and directions given above. The interim order dated 21.05.2018 stands recalled. It is further made clear that all consequential action taken on the basis of the interim order dated 21.05.2018 are to be construed accordingly. There shall, however, be no order as to cost.
O R